College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

The role of thought suppression in building mental blocks

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2008

Publication Title

Consciousness and Cognition

ISSN

1053-8100

Volume

17

Abstract

This research examined the role of thought suppression in the formation of mental blocks. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to generate a series of creative associates for two target words after initially suppressing a word that was semantically related to one of the two target words. Participants produced fewer responses, and experienced a greater sensation of being mentally blocked, when attempting to produce associates for the target word that was semantically related to the suppressed word. In Experiment 2, participants either thought about or suppressed a series of words prior to completing a word fragment completion task. Each word either corresponded exactly to one of the word fragment solutions (target primes) or resembled one of the solutions but was slightly different in its orthographic properties (negative primes). Participants performed most poorly on the items for which they had initially suppressed negative primes.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2007.05.007

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